The following is the online version of one of two
correspondence courses offered by the Does
Exist? organization. The course is written by
a former atheist. He came to believe in the Bible as
through his attempts to show it scientifically
Clayton was a public school teacher of physics and the earth
retiring after 41 years of teaching. He is a graduate
University (B.S., M.S.) and University of Notre Dame (M.S.).
This course is the Intermediate
written at a college freshman level. The objective of this
is to: (1) provide a foundation that will meet
atheistic teachings; (2) provide up-to-date, logical, and
so that students can answer questions that tend to disturb them
trying to deal with their friends and the world in which they
(3) provide teachers with a wide-range, accurate, open-ended
teaching this area of great concern.
This course was place online in order to facilitate a
easier access to the course. Here is how it works:
with lesson 1, read the required materials (all materials are
online) and then answer the question sheet provided with each
lesson. The easiest way to do this is copy and paste the
questions to a word processing program (Word, WordPerfect,
etc.). Once you finish answering the questions, e-mail the
questions/answers to John N.
as a text e-mail
NOT as an attachment or HTML format
accept any e-mail
containing attachments. Leave spaces between each question
answer. The answers will be graded and commented on and
to you. Then you may proceed to the next lesson.
This course is a revision of the original intermediate
that was placed online by Darrick Dean with the permission of
the Does God Exist?
All course materials © John N. Clayton. Report any
mistakes or errors with the pages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU NEED TO CONTINUE
course with lessons beyond lesson 1, go to this page
and select the lesson you want to do.
PROOF OF GOD’S EXISTENCE
To The Student
The purpose of this course is to show that you can
logically, rationally, and scientifically believe in God and in
Bible as His Word. We do not present this course with the idea
have all the answers, but we do maintain that we have more answers
the atheist or agnostic has to the same questions. You are invited
write us with your questions, comments, and/or objections. We will
answer your letter and will do our best to help you find
answers to your questions.
Your author is a former atheist who became a Christian because of
evidence. Our desire is to convince you or strengthen your
that living the teachings of Jesus Christ is the key to a
life, but the Bible will not be used or referenced in our first
John N. Clayton
B.S., M.S., Indiana University
M.S., University of Notre Dame
We begin this discussion by pointing out that from the very outset
are making some assumptions.
It is popular to say that you cannot prove the existence of God. In
absolute sense, that is true. If you could absolutely prove the
existence of God then the word "faith" would have no meaning. In our
every day lives there are many things that we do not know
When you drive your car down the highway you do not know absolutely
that someone will not cross the center line, hit you head-on, and
you. However, you do not allow that to stop you from driving your
because you have enough evidence to believe it will not happen.
In all areas of our lives, we make decisions on the weight of the
evidence. We assume that you are a reasonable human being, and that
when you have massive evidence to support a belief system you will
accept and operate by that belief system. This course deals with
evidence, and we assume you are willing to look at evidence and make
rational decisions based on good evidence.
We also assume that you are willing to admit that YOU exist--that
is reality. Some philosophies attempt to deny reality. The evidence
the existence of God comes from a scientific examination of the
we have about the reality of our existence.
The Humanist Manifesto
in the 1960s by a
highly educated group of atheists stated what an atheist must
about the existence of reality. One version of the statement said
universe is eternal, self existing, and not created." There are
concepts involved in this statement and there is a logical reason
atheists to embrace each of these concepts.
ETERNAL: Most atheists will
maintain that the creation is eternal in nature. If the atheist
to the concept that there was a beginning to the creation then they
have to deal with the question of what caused the beginning. It is
simpler to postulate that there was no beginning.
SELF EXISTING: If you admit
there was a cause to the creation, then you are forced to deal with
what that cause was. Cause demands a causer of some kind. Self
NO INTELLIGENT CREATION:
believe completely in naturalism, that everything that happens and
ever happened is explainable by chance occurrences in nature. Richard
Dawkins said this clearly in his book River
1995, page 133), "In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic
replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are
to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any
justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we
expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no
good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference." Julian Huxley wrote
The Human Degree (J.B.
Lippincott Co., 1976), "We are as much a product
of blind forces as is the falling of a stone to Earth or the ebb and
flow of the tides. We have just happened, and man was made flesh by
long series of singularly beneficial accidents."
We would propose that atheists are in error on all three of these
points, and that science is the tool that can help us understand
error and push us to look at alternatives.
BEGINNING OR NO
The sun generates its
by thermonuclear fusion. Every second that
passes, the sun compresses 564 million tons of hydrogen into 560
million tons of helium with four million tons of matter released as
energy. In spite of that tremendous consumption of fuel, the sun has
only used up two percent of the hydrogen it had the day it came into
existence. This process is not confined to the sun. Every star in
sky generates its energy in the same way, most using the fusion of
hydrogen to helium. All over the cosmos are massive number of stars
converting hydrogen into helium, thereby reducing the total amount
hydrogen in the cosmos.
Hydrogen is a non-renewable resource. We can break apart water to
hydrogen, or replace hydrogen from acids, but this is not new
No new hydrogen is generated anywhere in the cosmos. It is believed
that the hydrogen we do observe came into existence in an incredibly
hot event sometimes referred to as the “big bang.”
Just think about it! If
everywhere in the cosmos hydrogen
consumed and if the process has been going on forever, how much
hydrogen should be left?
Suppose I attempt to drive my automobile without putting any more
into it. What is eventually going to happen as I drive? I am going
run out of fuel! If the cosmos had been here forever, we would have
out of hydrogen long ago! However, the sun still has 98 percent of
original hydrogen! The fact is that hydrogen is the most abundant
material in the universe! Everywhere we look in space, we see the
hydrogen 21 cm line in the spectrum--a frequency of light only given
by hydrogen. This could not be possible unless we had a beginning!
A second piece of
evidence that we had a beginning is seen in the
movement of galaxies. This picture represents our part of the cosmos
which each of the disk-shaped objects is a galaxy like our Milky
All of these galaxies are moving relative to each other. Their
has a very distinct pattern which causes the distance between the
galaxies to become greater with every passing day. If we had three
galaxies located at positions A, B, and C in the diagrams below, and
they are located as shown, tomorrow they will be further apart. The
triangle they form will be bigger. The day after tomorrow, the
will be bigger yet. We live in an expanding universe that gets bigger
and bigger and bigger with every passing day.
Now let us suppose that we make time run backwards. If we are
at a certain distance today, then yesterday we were still closer
together. Ultimately where must all the galaxies have been? At a
At a beginning! At what scientists call a “singularity.”
A singularity is simply a condition that the normal laws of physics
cannot describe. A different set of laws apply to this condition
quantum mechanics. This relatively new science deals with the very
small--quarks, electrons, photons, neutrinos, and other particles
are involved in the production of the physical things we have been
describing--atoms, molecules, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. Quantum
mechanics does not invalidate classical physics, but enriches and
expands our understanding of how the creation works.
There are many other evidences and demonstrations that can be used
show that there was a beginning. One example is the laws of
thermodynamics. For many years skeptics maintained that the evidence
from the expanding universe could be discounted on the assumption
we live in an oscillating universe. The idea was that, as time goes
the cosmos was slowed down in its expansion by gravity. The theory
proposed that eventually all of the matter in the cosmos would be
stopped in its expansion and pulled back to a new singularity which
would "re-big bang" and start the process all over again. New data
the Hubble telescope and verification by numerous other techniques
now shown that the cosmos is accelerating in its expansion. We are
slowing down as we move outward into space, but in fact we are
up. There is a dark energy being added to the cosmos that we cannot
measure, but which is apparently accelerating the fabric of
so that everything is moving faster and faster as it moves outward.
cosmos will not collapse and repeat the big bang.
There have been elaborate
theories constructed involving imaginary
time, imaginary universes, virtual reality, string theory, branes
(short for membranes), and parallel universes. These proposals are
interesting, but in most cases they border on fantasy. There is no
to falsify what is being proposed, and no way to test it. Most
descriptions involve multiple dimensions--sometimes as many as
them. Bob Berman of Astronomy (July 2004, page 16) once commented
what we have is "Alice in Wonderland meeting Stephen Hawking." The
is that all available evidence supports the fact that there was a
beginning to the cosmos we observe.
Not only can
evidence be given to prove that we had a beginning,
as the Bible says, but we can also see a logical problem in
that the cosmos was uncaused. If the universe had a beginning and
beginning was uncaused, then something would have had to come into
existence out of nothing. From empty space with no force, no matter,
energy, and no intelligence, matter would have come into existence.
Even if this could happen by some strange new process unknown to
science today, there is a logical problem. In order for matter to
out of nothing, all of our scientific laws dealing with the
conservation of matter/energy would have to be wrong, invalidating
of chemistry. All of our laws of the conservation of angular
would have to be wrong, invalidating all of physics. All of our laws
conservation of electric charge would have to be wrong, invalidating
all of electronics. In order to believe matter is uncaused, one has
discard known laws and principles of science. No reasonable person
going to do this simply to maintain a personal religious position.
The atheist’s assertion that matter is eternal is simply wrong. The
atheist’s assertion that the universe is uncaused and self-existing
also incorrect. There was a beginning and the beginning was caused.
This is supported strongly by the available scientific evidence.
The next question is "What was the cause?" Was the cause a personal
who created the cosmos and life with purpose and intelligence? Or
the cause chance--with no purpose and no intelligence? We will look
those questions in the next lesson.
© 2009, John N. Clayton
Lesson 1 cover picture: The Helix Nebula, NASA/ESA/C.
O'DELL (Vanderbilt University), M. Meixner and P. McCullough
Lesson 1 Questions
Return to the Main
Intermediate Correspondence Course.